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Featured Federal Government Publications: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor RooseveltIn September, (PBS) The Public Broadcasting System at UNC-TV featured a film entitled “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” Filmmaker Ken Burns takes you on a passionate seven-day excursion about one of America’s most influential families.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest serving First Lady, political stateswoman, and humanitarian mesmerized the nation with her prolific writings, social consciousness, and public services. Born on October 11, 1884 to Elliott and Anna Hall Roosevelt, Eleanor endured tragedy at a young age with both parents and a sibling dying before the age of 15. In 1905 she wedded the only United States President to be elected four times, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Amidst this union they bore 6 children, losing Franklin Jr. to influenza in 1909. In 1912, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt begins to explore her political passions and became one of the most-loved and well-regarded women of her generation.

Franklin built the Val Kill Estate in the early 1920s for Eleanor where she and some friends founded Val-Kill Industries. Eleanor often referenced Val Kill as the place where she emerged as an individual; a place “where I used to find myself and grow”. Being the first female to write a syndicated column and the first female radio commentator, Eleanor pushed for women’s rights in what was then male-dominated fields.

One of the best ways of enslaving a people is to keep them from education… The second way of enslaving a people is to suppress the sources of information, not only by burning books but by controlling all the other ways in which ideas are transmitted. (11 May 1943).”

Eleanor Roosevelt is a government document recently added to GHL’s Federal Collection. The print publication is not available online but information on the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site and the Val-Kill Cottage can be viewed online at

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